April 21

Viewpoint: My Business Is ‘Essential.’ It Doesn’t Feel That Way.

By Elisabeth Tobia

As CEO of two early learning centers in my home state of Michigan, I am seeing a paradox play out in real time. My business has been labeled “essential,” but the way we’ve been treated by the state makes me feel like we’re anything but. It’s not just me, either. Across the country, the Covid-19 pandemic is exposing some naked truths about the social and governmental dysfunction around how we treat workers.

Guidelines from the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security name several straightforward categories as vital to the nation’s health and security. One can hardly dispute that the fields of law enforcement, energy and food supply, and health and medical services are fundamental to keeping society functioning. But who are essential workers within these fields? There are no hard and fast rules for states and cities.

Photo courtesy of Ken Walton.

Source: Barron's (link opens in a new window)